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John Leguizamo to play ‘Cantinflas’ in biopic?

01.13.2009 | By |

John Leguizamo to play 'Cantinflas' in biopic?

As soon as I heard Cantinflas was announced as a major motion picture film, I immediately thought of colombian actor John Leguizamo as the perfect lead. For those who don’t know who Cantinflas is, he was the greatest film comedian Mexico ever produced. Leguizamo would be an obvious choice and here are the 3 reasons why:

1. He physically looks like him

2. He speaks Spanish (broken Spanish, but he speaks it)

and…

3. He’s a natural comedian

One problem producers will confront from the get go would be his Spanish. He has a Nuyorican accent he can’t shake – have you heard him in Love in the Time of Cholera playing a colombian? He sounds like… you guessed it, a Puerto Rican from New York. Leguizamo, who was born in Bogota, Colombia, will have to master an authentic Mexican accent without sounding like Speedy Gonzalez. If he does that, and Alejandro Gomez Monteverde can write a formidable script, we could see a watershed moment in Leguizamo’s acting career for the better. Salma Hayek did something similar with ‘Frida’ and the results were an Oscar nomination as best actress for that role. I don’t see anyone else with a recognizable name playing the Mexican icon, unless they go with an unknown, which would be a bad business move if the producers go that route. Let’s see what happens, folks!

Here is a pic of Leguizamo with a moustache. What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Below is the Variety report about the Cantinflas biopic:

Latino comic and actor Cantinflas, his real name is Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes, who helped usher in the golden era of Mexican filmmaking in the 1940s and ’50s, will be the focus of a biopic by Alejandro Gomez Monteverde.

Alejandro Gomez Monteverde will co-write and direct “Cantinflas,” a biopic about the comedian and actor who helped usher in a golden era of Mexican filmmaking in the ’40s and ’50s.

NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman will serve as an exec producer on the feature film with Monteverde and TV producer Jay Weisleder producing. Monteverde, whose drama “Bella” won the People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Intl. Film Festival, will co-write the script with Jose Portillo.

Despite his debut to American audiences in “Around the World in 80 Days” (1956), Cantinflas is not well known in the English-speaking world.

After pitching the idea to Silverman, Weisleder told the reluctant exec to ask any Latino about Cantinflas. “The moment he did that he called me from a restaurant and said ‘I got 10 people following me. Everybody knows who he is. We gotta do this,’ ” Weisleder said.

As the founder and former owner of Reveille, Silverman remains attached as an exec producer on several Reveille features projects, which include the Kurt Cobain biopic at Universal and “Staked Plains” at Focus.

Weisleder worked with Silverman at Reveille and has several television projects in development, including the comedy “My Problems With Women,” exec produced by Justin Timberlake. Monteverde and Weisleder secured the rights with the late actor’s son, Mario Moreno Ivanova, who will serve as an associate producer on the project.

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